As I promised yesterday, I have restarted a chronicle of my French escapade with my mom.

After leaving behind the dynamic backdrop of Sisteron, we headed to our next destination, Lyon, which was about 260km away.

As you can see from the satellite map, the area we drove through was very close to French Alps and the landscape was mainly occupied by forests and boulders.

Amazing, huh?
I wished if I knew more about geology…

At Laragne-Montéglin, we came across this…

Winking apple!

The area was famous for their delicious apples – Vita-Pom, Saint Pétrus and Altess. Mum and I were especially cheered by the apple because our hometown, Nagano, was also famous for being one of the largest producers of the fruit too. ‘I would have love to taste their apples if the season was right!’, mum uttered.

We also agreed their apple tree blossoming must have been a beautiful sight to behold.

Beautiful Parc National des Écrins. Hope to see you again!

At Monestier-de-Clermont, we took A51 and sped towards Lyon…

Sisteron, here we come!

Ugh, I feel really weird today. The inside of my mouth feels like made out of a sandpaper and it’s horrible! It appears that I picked up some head cold during last week and I have started to feel the effect. Oh no…

Anyway, I am going to resume my “mum & daughter road trip” chronicle, which was very much interrupted and delayed, from this afternoon!

After visiting Menton, the easternmost town of France, our next destination was a commune called Sisteron. We u-turned towards Nice via A8 and came off the autoroute at exit 52.

As we moved towards the north-east along D6202, the roadside scenery started to change from the one around the Mediterranean. The terrain more rocky and the greenery more abundant, definitely we were getting closer to the Alps…

I must say that we really loved travelling through France by car. The view was gorgeous and most of the route was immaculately maintained. And at every service we dropped in, we enjoyed tasty treats – even though the coffee was from vending machines.

The reason why I picked Sisteron as a destination was because it was within the 200km range drive – I figured out this distance from my past experience of long distance driving holiday. If I limited the maximum distance to 220km a day, it would leave a plenty of time for sightseeing and also I didn’t feel too tired.

From Saint-Benôit, the road became N202 and the flow of traffic became more sparse and leisurely…

Another reason why I chose to visit Sisteron was the town’s unique geological feature.

Behold the sight of Sisteron!

When I first came across the picture of Sisteron while I was planning the road trip, it reminded me the Devil’s Tower in the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. ‘Wow, this looks cool! I must show it to mum!!’

The amazing appearance of Sisteron was the result of a “recumbant fold”. It displayed exactly how the Alps was formed by the layers of rock from the ocean bed which were pushed up and folded over like pleat by the gigantic force of the two continents of Europe and Africa! Don’t you love to see how it happened by time-laspe video?

We arrived at Sisteron around 1:30 PM…

Our hotel, Grand Hôtel du Cours, was in the middle of the town and it had a very dark underground car park…

As we stepped into the reception, we noticed it was a rather old-fashioned establishment, very dark woodwork decor and burgundy coloured soft-furnishing kind of place. Even though they didn’t provide any Wi-Fi, the hotel had a lift (!), therefore, mum and I had a much easier time transporting our ever expanding baggage to our 2nd floor room.

The room was small and sweet…

View from our window…

Hmm…, there seem to be a public parking right under our nose. Was it a mistake reserving the underground parking for €12?…

‘Let’s stretch our legs, mum!’

We left our room to explore the place…

Memory loss

‘Do you remember what we did in Tours?’ Mum and I still question each other but either of us can’t recall anything in detail. It was because we were more concerned about mum’s injury than paying attention to our first French city since our road trip eleven months ago.

From Caen Ferry Port to Tours was about 274km and the journey took us just under 3 hours.

Fortunately, the hotel we checked in had a lift so it made our life a lot easier, especially mine as I had to carry all the luggage.

After unpacking, we shared a bottle of beer and discussed how the day went. ‘Hope I will feel less pain tomorrow.’, mum said longingly and I nodded very hard because I couldn’t agree with her more.

One thing I remember clearly was the receptionist at the hotel. He told me that Aikido was his hobby and I taught him typical Japanese greetings such as konnichiwa, konbanwa and matane.

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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